The Princess Calling: Part Five
PART FIVE: Rosellen's Calling
There were voices. They echoed in the depths of my mind. But I did not know where they came from or why I could not answer them. I heard their worried, fearful tones and occasional weeping. But I was not able to comfort them.
I heard a pounding heart. Was it my own? Was I alive? Then I heard breathing. I felt air in my lungs and felt it coursing through me. Then I felt my eyes open, though slowly. Then I saw light.
I was in a small room, but it was so extravagant. Where was I? Slowly, my eyes drifted over the room, and blinked against its brightness, confusion stealing over me.
"Oh, Rosellen! Rosellen!" A Xweetok Queen rushed over to me, tears streaming down her furry cheeks. "Oh, you're alive!" She began sobbing. "Rosellen, you're alive!"
I was alive. Yes, I felt myself breathing, my heart pumping.
Then my father came rushing in. "My darling, my Rosellen!" And he too was crying in relief.
"Mother," I whispered softly. She came closer and took my paw in her own. "How?" I asked weakly. "How can it be? The gas... it was poison."
"Rosellen," my mother answered. "Oh, Rosellen, they only thought it was poison."
"The guards had no idea," Father added. "It was only a heavy sleeping agent, meant to put someone unconscious for awhile. Darling, it wasn't lethal."
Pure relief stole over me. "And Greenvelle?" I asked. "It is safe?"
"Greenvelle is very safe," my mother assured.
"Stuart Carmody and all of his guards have been sentenced to life in the dungeon. All is safe now, dear," Father said.
"Is she awake?" King Lyle came bustling in, following by Queen Marceila. "Oh, thank Fyora she is all right!"
"We are indebted to you," Queen Marceila said in genuine gratitude, tears filling her eyes. "We owe you our lives, Rosellen. You have saved us. You have saved Greenvelle!"
Suddenly I'd become a hero of Neopia—me, Rosellen Dellamore! I would have never imagined as a young girl striving to become a proper princess that I would find myself through nearly losing my life in defending another realm. Things began to change drastically for me. I wasn't able to continue with princess school though. The doctors say my foot has been damaged too severely, and I may never walk right again. But I was able to attend the graduating ceremony. That was where a grand speech was made by King Lyle in my honor, one that changed everything everyone had ever known about royalty.
"You've made us all proud, Princess Rosellen Dellamore of Satinsand Island," he spoke to me. "You've opened up our eyes as well. In fact, we've all come together, all of the royals of Neopia, and we've all agreed that... that perhaps we've been looking at royalty the wrong way all these years. Instead of pushing strength and courage, we've pushed... rules. Rules and regulations. All of those inane rules—not a single one of us could ever follow them all. And we've learned that prim and properness is not truly what makes a royal. No, it is fearlessness, braveness, and kindness, and the willingness to lay down your own life for another. That is what royalty is all about. And to all of the young royals of Neopia, we do apologize for expecting so much. It was never fair of us. Thank you, Princess Rosellen, for allowing us to see that."
Before all of Neopia I stood, as a princess with a golden crown atop my head, gazing out from on the balcony of the Greenvelle castle. And everyone was cheering my name, clapping their paws, and then I knew at once what I'd found. My entire life, I'd been trying and striving desperately to know who I truly was.
And finally—finally—I'd found my calling.
I was a princess, and I always would be.
I was going home. Oh, it was so grand to be going home!
I was helping Siri pack my suitcases. Suddenly the little Aisha maid looked up from folding a dress and said, "I will... miss you, Rosellen."
I smiled at her. "And I shall miss you dreadfully. I wish you well, Siri."
And Siri smiled back, though softly. Suddenly there was a soft knock at the door.
"Come in," I called.
"Rosellen?" I turned to see Labella standing hesitantly in the doorway. She was fidgeting, seemingly unsure of herself.
"Oh, hello, Labella," I said warmly. "I thought you'd have left already."
"Well... I couldn't have," Labella said softly. "Not until I said something." She looked straight into my eyes. "Rosellen... I'm sorry."
I smiled at her. "Dear Labella, you've nothing to be sorry over."
"Don't do that, Rosellen," Labella snapped. "Don't pretend that I haven't been horribly rotten to you over the past half a year. Don't pretend that I haven't been rude and obnoxious and just plain mean. Rosellen, I'm just so sorry!" And poor Labella looked genuinely so.
"Labella." I placed a paw comfortingly on her arm. "Labella, I'm not worried over the awful things that have happened. Even though you made me horribly riled at times, I always liked you. Besides, everything has changed now. Life is new. Why, we're princesses, Labella! We made it."
Labella didn't look convinced, but slowly she smiled a small, tentative smile. Then she looked away swiftly. "I heard about your leg," she said softly. "I'm so sorry, Rosellen. You hurt your own self trying to save us all."
"And I would have done it again," I said quickly. "Sure... sure, I'll walk with a limp the rest of my life. But I saved a whole realm. I am not the least bit sorry."
Labella smiled. "You sure are a fighter, Rosellen." She was quiet awhile before she finally spoke again. Her words were filled with regret. "Rosellen, there's something I must confess. Truth is, I... I've been enrolled here more than once," she admitted softly.
I didn't say a word, waiting for her to go on.
Labella sighed. "I first came four years ago when my parents thought of me as 'disordered from all aspects of royalty'. I'd no idea what they meant at first. I was simply being as I always was. But suddenly they started pushing all of their rules on me, and I didn't always follow them, I admit. They were furious. I was punished for weeks." She paused. "They threatened to disown me," she whispered, as if she still couldn't believe the thought. "They thought of me as unfit for the throne." She lowered her face and trembled. "They were ashamed to have a daughter like me."
"Oh, Labella, I'm so sorry," I said softly. I could not imagine my parents ever being so... coldhearted, as to give me up. The thought made me insufferably sorrowful. Labella was shaking her head.
"I've been here for four years, Rosellen." The words were followed by a laugh of disbelief. "It's crazy. But I just hope that now that I've graduated—really graduated—that they'll be proud of me. That's all I want."
"You're a true princess now," I encouraged. "Surely they have changed their point of view."
Labella sighed. "I sure hope so, Rosellen. With everything, I hope so. And Rosellen... we are all so grateful of you. Oh, sure you were terribly reckless and thoughtless and insane at times, but Rosellen, you were so admirable." I smiled at her words. It wasn't the first time I'd been admired. "After the attempted take over and everyone had learned what you'd done, everything changed. Suddenly the rest of us wanted to straighten up, be better than ourselves. And Madam was actually proud of us. She said so. And so she let us all graduate. She said we'd make fine princesses, and that perhaps she was wrong about us."
I smiled. "That's wonderful, Labella. I'm so happy. And she's right, you know. I think everything has changed for better regarding princesses today and those to come."
Labella looked at me and smiled a real smile. "And all thanks to you, Rosellen. Princess Rosellen. You've made all of us proud."
The stars glimmered bright in the dark sky. I was home in Satinsand, and everything was right. I stood on the balcony of the Satinsand castle and gazed out onto the crashing waves in the dark.
"Hey." I whipped around at the whispered voice. "Rosellen." Coming over the edge of the balcony was someone... Dalton!
"Dalton!" I stumbled over to him just as he hopped over the edge. I laughed delightedly at the sight of him. "Whatever are you doing here?"
"What, a prince cannot sneak out and visit his princess every once in a while?" Dalton chuckled, and he took my paws and smiled at me. "Dearest Rose... or should I say Princess Rosellen?"
I laughed. "I still cannot believe I'm really a princess now."
"And why ever not?" questioned Dalton. "I knew you could do it, Rose. Didn't I tell you?"
I smiled and sighed happily. "Yes, you did, Prince Dalton." And we laughed together. I thought back over the past months of my life and marveled over how much had changed. I recalled the first day my parents announced I would be attending princess school, the absurdity of it! But suddenly princess school did not seem like such a horrible prospect at all. In fact, I was ever so grateful of it. I learned a lot about myself and also about life there. And now I was ready to embark on a new journey, one as Princess Rosellen Dellamore of Satinsand Island. And truthfully, I could not wait to see what the future would hold.